CLASFON Calls for Proactive Action against Rape, Gender-based Violence

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By John Shiklam

The Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON) has expressed concern over the recent rise in cases of rape and gender-based violence in the country.

The fellowship, therefore, urged the federal and state governments to take urgent measures, including legal, legislative and social measures to decisively deal with the problem.

CLASFON, in a communique issued at the end of its virtual meeting, also commended moves by the Nigerian judiciary to embrace technology in the administration of justice in the Covid-19 era.

The communique jointly signed by Mr. Arome Okwori and Mr. Olatunji Omole, President and National Secretary of CLASFON respectively, said the recent adoption of virtual court hearings, was a welcome development and called for a better and coordinated approach for the adoption of the system which will go a long way to ensure the administration of justice in the Covid-19 era.

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The communique noted that Covid-19 presents a challenge for the administration of justice in Nigeria, stressing that it must be handled proactively with despatch since issues relating to law and justice are dynamic.

The fellowship considers the seamless access to justice a sine qua non for any society desirous of peace and progress.

The meeting observed: “The recent Covid-19 pandemic negatively impacted on access to justice given the restriction of movement and social distancing.”

The communique further called on the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Council for Legal Education to make provisions for the new normal by arranging the inclusion of basic ICT courses in the syllabuses of university and Nigerian Law School students.

The communique, however, expressed concern over the prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the failure of the federal government to resolve the issues.

CLASFON observed that the sustenance of every government and the future of every nation can only be assured by the quality of education from the citadels of learning.

It noted that the silence and inaction of the federal government in resolving the dispute is very worrisome, given that many months in the school year have been crippled and affected by Covid-19 lockdown, adding that the prospect of another prolonged unresolved industrial action upon reopening of schools will be quite devastating.

The meeting, therefore, called on both parties to quickly resolve their differences so as not to further disrupt the academic calendar of the university system once we overcome the Covid-19 challenge.

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